Uber was started in San Francisco in 2008, as a car-sharing service for a small group of friends. In just a few short years, the company has changed the model of public transportation across the globe. The Uber network now extends across 68 countries and 400 cities, and delivers packages as well as people.
Special spinoffs such as uberX, which uses hybrid vehicles and uberPOOL, which allows ride-sharing is making the Uber experience more affordable than ever before, expanding the market. Of course, Uber still faces regulatory challenges, but no doubt this new business model is here to stay.
One of the most amazing effects of this new ride-sharing economy is the decrease in DUIs in cities where Uber operates. A study in Seattle, which even included the shift in incidents resulting from the legalization of recreational marijuana, showed that DUI arrests decreased by more than 10 percent as a result of the Uber service. Other research is now indicating that Uber is having an impact on reducing drunk-driving fatalities in California, with an over 5 percent drop in these casualties. If the “Uber effect” can be shown to hold true nationwide, this would mean a savings of $37 billion a year in medical and legal costs, as well as saving an estimated 500 lives.
You may think that someone who is drunk would not have the presence of mind to order an Uber ride on a phone app; but in reality, impaired people love to use Uber because the app is so easy to use and the service is so convenient. The customer is told exactly how long they will have to wait, which is a huge factor in the decision making of someone who has been drinking. No doubt, we have not heard the last word on the social changes this service is bringing to the world of transportation.